Douglas N. Arnold
Computer-Aided Instruction (CAI), diverse and rapidly expanding spectrum of computer technologies that assist the teaching and learning process. CAI is also known as computer-assisted instruction. Examples of CAI applications include guided drill and practice exercises, computer visualization of complex objects, and computer-facilitated communication between students and teachers. The number of computers in American schools has risen from one for every 125 students in 1981 to one for every nine students in 1996. While the United States leads the world in the number of computers per school student, Western European and Japanese schools are also highly computerized.
II. Types of CAI
Information that helps teach or encourages interaction can be presented on computers in the form of text or in multimedia formats, which include photographs, videos, animation, speech, and music. The guided drill is a computer program that poses questions to students, returns feedback, and selects additional questions based on the students’ responses. Recent guided drill systems incorporate the principles of education in addition to subject matter knowledge into the computer program.
Computers also can help students visualize objects that are difficult or impossible to view. For example, computers can be used to display human anatomy, molecular structures, or complex geometrical objects. Exploration and manipulation of simulated environments can be accomplished with CAI-ranging from virtual laboratory experiments that may be too difficult, expensive, or dangerous to perform in a school environment to complex virtual worlds like those used in airplane flight simulators.
CAI tools, such as word processors, spreadsheets, and databases, collect, organize, analyze, and transmit information. They also facilitate communication among students, between students and instructors, and beyond the classroom to distant students,...